Monday, October 20, 2008

3 Days in Marrakesh

I'm really sick by the time we get back to Marrakesh. We stay at Riad Slitine and the receptionist arranges for a doctor to come and see me. Riad Slitine is heaven after our time in the mountains. The Doctor is a lovely Moroccan, who speaks french and a little english. It's not hard to pantomine a sore chest though and everyone understands `Diabetic'. He asks about my BGL's and checks my lungs and blood pressure, then prescribes antibiotics, anti inflammtory for my lungs, and a bronchitis medicine, to loosen the phlegm. He laughs when I tell him how hard it is to explain to Maroccans that I don't want sugar in my mint tea. The sugar intake here is appalling! They just pile it into everything and lollies and soft drinks are consumed by everyone. We bought some M&M's one day and they were disgusting. Much more sugar than the ones in Australia. Cath and Gill attend a cooking school which I have to miss out on.

The western medicine Pharmacies here are small shops, sticking strictly to stocking only medicine. They are usually staffed by women in white lab coats and headscarves, and have no advertising or extra products. When you walk in, there will be a few bare shelves beside the entrance, a counter and behind that some shelves with stocked medicines, no beauty products, baby formula, bandaging, perfumes or anything. For those you go to the traditional herbalist pharmacy, where there is a profusion of products. As you walk into these herbalists, you are assailed by beautiful scents from the baskets of dried herbs and spices, lining the shelves along the walls. Old men and women in djebellabas sit, leaning on walking canes. Young mothers nurse children and the attendants wear white lab coats and headscarves and try to look professional. These shops are generally light and bright, not dim and witchy as you might think a traditional herbalist would be.

Once I've got my medicine, I go out and about. We spend these few days shopping, having hammam (a proper one this time) and treating ourselves to meals at highly recommended restaurants. The first is an Italian restaurant, recommended for its pizzas. When I look at the menu, I notice that the pizzas with meat, have `minced meat', not good Italian sausage. I decide to ask for one of the steaks that are on the menu, and get told, "I'm sorry Madame, there is no beef available." We should have left then, but we stayed and orderd pizzas which were woeful, the mushrooms, artichokes and asparagus on Cath and Gill's pizzas are straight out of cans. The next night we eat at La Sultana, which has a lovely rooftop bar and a very good menu. I had Chicken and Almond pie for entree, and a mouth watering steak for mains. Three Arab musicians provide pleasant music, the seating is in alcoves around a pool scattered with rose petals and lit by candle light. Worth the money, although a little `created' and definitely upmarket.

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